I Ran Away From Home

blog IMG_6123_edited.jpgI ran away from home last Wednesday. With a week of vacation and no desire to be home but no place in particular to be, I did something that this overplanner wouldn’t normally do. I drove away without a real plan.

I had some maps, my phone, some supplies ( in case I couldn’t find a hotel) and my passport in case I went rogue and headed for the border. The plan was to pick up the National Road in Ohio and drive as far west as I wanted. The journey was the destination. That meant no hotel reservations, no goals and no stress.

It was amazing. 

I followed the National Road to Terra Haute, antiquing along the way, eating mostly in mom and pop restaurants, and stopping to rest wherever I got tired. The weather was beautiful the first day, horrible on day two and mediocre the rest so this wasn’t a great picture trip. But I did get a few photos I’ll eventually share here with some thoughts on special places along the way.

I’ve never done a vacation like this where I had nowhere to be and all week to get there but would absolutely do it again. In fact, it seems like something everyone should try at least once.

There are so many things that make me want to go back. Main Street America, with all its idiosyncrasies, is fascinating and I have several small research projects to answer questions from the road.  Also, I was driving the modern National Road and would love to go hunting for some of the old alignments just to see what’s what. In Indiana, the road has been expanded to four lanes most of the way and I suspect there’s a lot of interesting stuff to see off the beaten path.

Stay tuned. I want to tell you about a cool old diner, a Model T Museum, my favorite antique stores (guys, there are more antique stores than you can count out there) and several other nifty sights from along the way. Look for more soon!

Recommitting To Myself

new years 2019I’m not a huge fan of the New Year’s Resolution. Maybe it’s because I believe every day is a perfect time to commit to doing something that’s necessary or good. Maybe it’s because I see how quickly most people fail with their resolutions. It takes at least a month of commitment to form a new habit. Sadly it takes one bad decision and about five minutes to revert back to our old ways. Then discouragement sets in and before we know it, we’re waiting for next January 1 to repeat the process.

Last spring, my beautiful friend Sarah introduced me to the Whole 30. It’s designed to help kick a sugar addiction and it’s an elimination diet to help folks with health issues figure out their allergies or other food related problems. For me, it became more of a lifestyle to stave off sugar cravings, lose weight, have increased energy and greater mental focus. I even found that food was causing some mild Rosacea like symptoms.

I quickly learned that I am happier when I eat whole foods and avoid heavily processed stuff. 

It’s a real commitment to be a Whole 30 Pescaterian. It’s a lot of cooking and most convenience food is off the table because it’s packed with sugar and all sorts of nasties you can’t pronounce and probably shouldn’t digest. For most Whole 30’ers, the prospect of eating in a restaurant is enough to incite panic. In other words, it’s a commitment and a challenge. And unlike most diets, if you make a mistake today, you don’t just pick up and go on tomorrow. You go back to day one with every slip up. So if your goal is to just get through the thirty days, it’s stressful when you’re new or when you’re trying to eat on the go.

Like I said, I have achieved a place of lifestyle where I try to stick with it as much as possible but am not bound so tightly by the rules of being on a thirty day round. This healthier diet gave me more energy for hiking, working out and going on adventures. After a few months of being really strict, I gave myself a season of leniency – more or less to see what my tendencies are, what my weaknesses are and what I do if given some leeway.

Turns out, my weaknesses and natural tendencies are appalling.

So today I start a new Whole 30 round and recommit to some of the lifestyle choices that made me so happy last year – drink lots of water, fuel my body with good food, get outdoors when possible, hike a lot, read good books, listen to amazing music, write daily, and surround myself with people and things that make me happy.

I’m also doing a reset on my budget. The holidays and poor self control on this last road trip tell me that I simply cannot be trusted with food, money or anything else. Ha, ha… ahem.

So, I’m not making a resolution. Instead, I’m making conscious decisions to recommit to what’s good for me and to what’s really important.

If you are among the many today who are committing to a resolution, here’s my advice – PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!! Write out your strategies, write down what you’re doing, study your choices and reward yourself for good performance.

If your goal is to cut spending so you can pay off a credit card, you would need to make a budget, write down every penny you spend, study your spending habits and chart your progress as the credit card balance decreases. Then periodically reward yourself with something special but not necessarily something that costs money. Maybe you invite a friend over for coffee or take a long, hot bubble bath. If you have kiddos, plan a picnic at a local park.

You get the idea.

Whatever you do, remember that the thing you want – the slimmer body, the fatter bank account, the life without cigarettes, or whatever it is – you can work toward every day of the year. You don’t need a calendar or a silly annual tradition to make it happen. You WILL need some elbow grease and a commitment to make it reality.

I have my plan together and I have a goal to be good to myself. And really, my friends, what’s better than committing to being kind to yourself?

Best wishes with your resolutions or goals or whatever it is you call them. Go forth and conquer every day this year! Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!